The year that Gazza cried in front of millions at the World Cup and Maggie was finally 'slaughtered' (thanks MC Mikee Freedom) brought us huge hits from the likes of Sinead O'Connor, Vanilla Ice, the Righteous Brothers and England New Order. But, while you may be able to cast your mind back to those number one singles, can you remember any of these?
January - Adamski - 'NRG'
Adam Tinley was just months off becoming a household name with the huge number one single 'Killer' (which
would incorrectly be credited solely to Seal by nearly every misinformed post-95 publication) when he
released the acid piano house anthem 'NRG'. Originally a hit at underground raves, the song reached the
Top 40 and earned Tinley a lawsuit from Lucozade for misappropriation of their iconic bottle design on the
sleeve. Adamski has barely stopped working since 1990, returning to the charts briefly in 1998 before
reinventing himself as pervy electro producer Adam Sky.
February - Renegade Soundwave - 'Probably a Robbery'
Preceding the Audio Bullies by well over a decade, 'Probably a Robbery' sneaked into number 38 in the
British charts giving Renegade Soundwave their first and only hit. They released four albums in total
between 1989 and 1995 and are just as well remembered for their excellent remix work of many acts of the
March - McCarthy - 'Get a Knife Between Your Teeth'
The final single by McCarthy was released in March 1990 shortly before guitarist Tim Gane formed Stereolab.
Named ironically after anti-Communist Joe McCarthy and prefering a political lyrical basis, McCarthy were
hailed by many for their intelligence and idealism, not least by the Manic Street Preachers who frequently
cited the band as an influence and covered three of their songs.
April - Shut Up and Dance - '20 Pounds to Get In'
The follow up to 1989's '10 Pounds to Get In' was stark, early breakbeat with a cheeky sample from Suzanne
Vega's 'Tom's Diner'. This release prompted DNA to officially remix the Vega track taking it to the top 10
in the summer. Shut Up and Dance famously scored a top 10 hit themselves two years later with the Marc
Cohn-sampling 'Raving I'm Raving', unfortunately the combination of the uncleared sample and a litigious
MOR American nobody meant the act made no money from the release and had to close their label.
May - Silver Bullet - '20 Seconds to Comply'
Famously including a quote from 'Robocop', '20 Seconds to Comply' took Silver Bullet's spitfire raps and
hardcore breakbeats into the charts in May 1990. Despite the promise of follow-up 'Undercover Anarchist'
it didn't quite hit as strongly as '20 Seconds' and Silver Bullet returned to the underground. Eight years
later he returned with the slightly different moniker 'Silvah Bullet' and is still making records today.
June - D-Shake - 'Yaaah!'
The first and only hit for Dutch producer Aad de Mooy and, with the combination of a tough bassline, crisp
hi-hats, sampled 'wooo's, the mandatory crowd noise and the relentless 'yaaah' vocal, this was a record that
hung around all summer and still receives a welcome airing by DJs to this day.
July - Tricky Disco - 'Tricky Disco'
Michael Wells and Lee Newman met at art school in the mid-80s and for many years were at the forefront of dance music through their various guises including GTO, John & Julie, Church of Extacy, Sign of Chaos and, finally, Technohead. However, it is for Tricky Disco that they are possibly most fondly remembered. The song was one of the first 'bleep techno' tracks to infiltrate the charts in the summer of 1990 and boasted a video full of vintage and very random clips. The repetitive and sparse vocals also prompted one of Smash Hits' finest ever 'cut out and keep' lyrics pages.
August - Together - 'Hardcore Uproar'
Following hot on the heels of Tricky Disco's bleep techno were Together aka Suddi Raval and Jonathon Donaghy who combined the ubiquitous beeps with piano house and a bassline that owed more than a nod to the theme to 'Assault on Precinct 13'. Tragically Jonathon died in a car accident shortly after the track was released. Suddi still makes music in Manchester to this day and has his own audio design company.
September - MC Tunes vs 808 State - 'Tunes Splits the Atom'
The second and last collaboration between acid house heroes 808 State and young Moss Side MC Nicky Lockett
followed 'The Only Rhyme That Bites' into the charts. The basis this time was a stolen bassline from the
Stone Roses' 'I Am the Resurrection' which attracted some unwanted attention from their former label
Silvertone. MC Tunes would later resurface in the Dust Junkys while 808 State went back to
instrumentals turning in the storming 'Cubik' and 'In Yer Face' over the next year.
October - Carter USM - 'Anytime Anyplace Anywhere'
Carter celebrated signing with Rough Trade with this blistering run through the highs and lows,
mostly the lows, of alcoholism. Lyrics such as 'Aftershave or disinfectant, if it's in a glass you'll
drink it / Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, there's a wonderful world you can share' further cemented the
band's reputation for thoughtful lyrics and themes despite their silly name. The album '30 Something'
quickly followed before the band signed to Chrysalis and were, for a short time, the biggest band
in the country. They split in 1997 but have reformed for two upcoming shows in Glasgow and their native
London's Brixon Academy.
November - Teenage Fanclub - 'God Knows It's True'
Formed from the remnants of Belshill group The Boy Hairdressers, Teenage Fanclub were and are Norman Blake,
Gerry Love, Raymond McGinley and various drummers - at this point Brendan O'Hare. 'God Knows It's True'
was released by Paperhouse Records and immediately precedes the band signing to Creation
for the landmark 'Bandwagonesque' LP. My cousin once remarked 'Are they a Beatles tribute act?' when
hearing their cover of 'The Ballad of John and Yoko' (the single before this one). Certainly not, Teenage
Fanclub are, in fact, the world's finest Big Star tribute act.
December - Danielle Dax - 'Tomorrow Never Knows'
And with that nice, tenuous link to the Beatles, we round off the mix with Danielle Dax's indie-dance cover
of the final track from 'Revolver'. Southend's Dax started out in the early 80s in the short-lived act The
Lemon Kittens before finally achieving some solo success nearly a decade later. This cover represented a
career high for Danielle, also achieving moderate success in the USA. She still has an official website,
but it has been 'under construction' for some time.